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Word Count: 492
The behavior of the Lawyer the narrator of Bartleby the Scrivener has been the focus of much critical discussion about the story At first the Lawyer introduces Bartleby as a particularly interesting specimen from his collection of stories about weird scriveners This seems to be a rather patronizing attitude as if Bartleby were no more than a rare insect or stamp As the story progresses the Lawyer seems to have an increasing amount of sympathy for him But in the end the Lawyer abandons Bartleby who then dies The question is whether the Lawyers failure to help Bartleby comes from the Lawyers own selfishness or a misunderstanding of how to help Bartleby The first hint of Bartlebys strange nature occurs when the narrator first asks him to examine a document Bartleby replies very politely that he would prefer not to The Lawyer is stupefied by this response Soon Bartleby is responding to every quest this way but there is no hint of uneasiness anger impatience or impertinence in his manner This passive resistance as the Lawyer calls it seems so rationally deliveredas if Bartleby had thought it over and it was the only proper conclusionthat the Lawyer cannot bring himself to punish Bartleby The Lawyer tells us several times that this rational-sounding response prevents the Lawyer from firing him on the spot But it may be that the Lawyer enjoys having Bartleby around to spice up his life Several times the Lawyer tells us he asks Bartleby to do something deliberately because he felt strangely goaded to encounter him in new opposition The Lawyer gets a perverse pleasure from trying to goad Bartleby into an angry response The Lawyers pleasure doesnt last forever though and when Bartleby decides to stop writing the Lawyer makes several efforts to make him leave Bartleby is no longer useful in any sense of the word But when Bartleby refuses to leave the Lawyer in what
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